Pelham police make arrests in car break-in string

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Pelham Police Department recently arrested five suspects police said were involved in a widespread car burglary and identity theft string throughout the region.

Police arrested 27-year-old Fort Lauderdale, Fla., resident Kenton Marcelle Chance and charged him with one count of first-degree receiving stolen property, seven counts of third-degree receiving stolen property, one count of second-degree possession of a forged instrument, one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, two counts of unlawful breaking and entering a vehicle and one count of second-degree theft of property. Chance is being held in the Shelby County Jail on about $3.1 million in bonds.

Joshua Jermaine Mallory, 26, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was arrested and charged with one count of first-degree receiving stolen property, one count of second-degree possession of a forged instrument, one count of fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement, seven counts of receiving stolen property, two counts of unlawful breaking and entering a vehicle, one count of second-degree theft of property and one count of reckless driving. Mallory is being held in the Shelby County Jail on bonds totaling $2.6 million.

Lindsey Nicole McAteer, 25, of Cottondale, was arrested and charged with one count of second-degree receiving stolen property, one count of second-degree possession of a forged instrument, one count of third-degree receiving stolen property, two counts of unlawful breaking and entering a vehicle, one count of second-degree theft of property and one count of switched tag. She is being held in jail on bonds totaling $2.5 million.

Fort Lauderdale, Fla., resident Cedric Bernard Lynch, 26, was arrested and charged with one count of second-degree receiving stolen property, one count of second-degree possession of a forged instrument, two counts of unlawful breaking and entering a vehicle, one count of second-degree theft of property and seven counts of third-degree receiving stolen property. Lynch is being held on bonds totaling $2.6 million.

Tuscaloosa resident Deborah Sue Gay, 48, was arrested and charged with one count of second-degree receiving stolen property, one count of second-degree possession of a forged instrument, seven counts of third-degree receiving stolen property, two counts of unlawful breaking and entering a vehicle and one count of second-degree theft of property. She is being held on bonds totaling $2.6 million.

The arrests came after Pelham police Sgt. Michael Carey said the department began experiencing a large number of unlawful breaking and entering a motor vehicle cases in early July. Many of the cases occurred in fitness center parking lots, where the suspects broke out vehicle windows and stole bank checks, driver’s licenses and other personal identification items, Carey said.

Carey said he believes the suspects are part of the national “Felony Lane Gang,” which he said steals personal identification items and checks before attempting to fraudulently cash the checks at local banks.

“There is an element that has been going around and breaking into cars around the Southeast,” said Pelham Mayor Don Murphy. “The police have been working on it, and they caught five of them staying in Midfield.”

On July 13, Carey said a Pelham officer spotted two cars believed to be involved in the break-ins. The officer stopped one vehicle and placed the driver in custody.

Carey said the second car attempted to flee the scene while throwing evidence from the car, but police were later able to bring all four of the vehicle’s occupants into custody without incident.

Police recovered more than $32,000 in currency as a result of the arrests.